The Phoenix


The legendary story of the Phoenix, which rises from its own ashes, is in fact the method of forest rebirth after a devastating fire.


In the early 1970s, the Salmon Creek fire burned many thousands of acres along the southern coast of Big Sur.  One day, six months after the fire, I was driving south along the coast and stopped at an area that was completely blackened.  This lone tree stood out, still standing but charred, against the clouds of an approaching storm and the fog over the ocean below, while a hint of the sun through the clouds struggled to restore some life-forces to the surviving seeds underneath the ashes.


A year later, the tree was still standing, and I took a midday photo and a sunset photo, but neither could match this one, which captured the essence of the forces of  renewal.


(February, 1972)

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